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Matthew Fleharty

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Everything posted by Matthew Fleharty

  1. Matthew Fleharty

    Negotiation Skills and Tactics

    🙄
  2. I came across the following article in FCW and I’m absolutely baffled. For starters, I don’t understand how utilizing AI will make the contracting process innovative or faster. In regards to innovation, presumably an AI system can only return results based on the data it already has in its database which, by its very nature, is empirical - so how will that create new processes, techniques, or best practices? In regards to speed, AI assistance for making Contracting Officer decisions isn’t going to make a dent in acquisition process timelines unless those AI outputs aren’t subject to the clearance and review processes (aka if leadership wants COs to cede their authority and ability to make decisions to AI they should be equally willing to do the same). From what I’ve seen, there is a growing myopic obsession with data and speed - I’d prefer that instead of undertaking a “major effort” to enable an AI system, we instead undertake a “major effort” to enable the acquisition workforce with the right education and materials. One can hope... Maybe my concerns are overblown, but I’ve seen hints of the damage that an automated system can have on workforce competency (e.g. “clause logic” systems).
  3. Matthew Fleharty

    Eliminate FAR 52.217-9?

    I’m not a contractor and I agree with @here_2_help‘s remarks on the value of advance notice. I don’t think advance notices merely constitute another administrative to-do: such notices have real value for contractors (and their employees) so they can plan for either continued performance or new work.
  4. Matthew Fleharty

    G&A not allowed on Travel

    Here's a hypothesis: the Government may assume that travel costs for contractors should be no different than travel costs for the Government. Since Government employees don't typically see the G&A behind their personal travel costs (they merely see the direct travel costs: airfare, rental car, hotel, per diem, etc.) the use of that as a baseline would result in the disconnect discussed here when trying to determine what travel costs the Government should or should not reimburse.
  5. Matthew Fleharty

    Bridge Contracts

    I think Don and Vern answered the mail just fine on this one...
  6. Matthew Fleharty

    Successive Bid Protests

    Here's a defense related example from today's news (emphasis added below):
  7. Matthew Fleharty

    Bridge Contracts

    See FAR 6.301(c)(1): “Contracting without providing for full and open competition shall not be justified on the basis of (1) A lack of advance planning by the requiring activity...”
  8. Matthew Fleharty

    Successive Bid Protests

    No, just as agencies can take corrective action, protesters may withdraw their protest(s).
  9. Matthew Fleharty

    Fee on Negotiated Changes

    @PepeTheFrog This: "There are other, effective ways to negotiate beyond relying on or using deception." & This: "...deception is a fundamental part of negotiation." are mutually exclusive statements. If you can explain how they are not mutually exclusive, please do so, but "sloppy, sloppy, sloppy" is not an argument.
  10. Matthew Fleharty

    Fee on Negotiated Changes

    Yes it does. See definition of "fundamental" If one does not need to use or rely on deception to be an effective negotiator (which you just agreed was "true"), it follows that deception is not essential and therefore, not a "fundamental part of negotiation."
  11. Matthew Fleharty

    Fee on Negotiated Changes

    No it’s literally not - stop drawing false equivalences, it’s bad form. “Putting aside getting caught...”?!?!?! Who is living in their own world now Pepe?! You cannot just wish away a strong argument against your position because it’s convenient for your point. You’ve ignored the fact that (a) inevitably deceptive practices will be caught if repeated over time and, further (b) trained and prepared negotators know how to identify deception. There are other, effective ways to negotiate beyond relying on or using deception - period.
  12. Matthew Fleharty

    Fee on Negotiated Changes

    @PepeTheFrog I don't recall anyone here saying that deception doesn't happen, but there are plenty saying it shouldn't.
  13. Matthew Fleharty

    Commercial Product Definition

    Section 847 of the 2018 NDAA already included a “to multiple foreign governments” criterion for commercial items.
  14. Matthew Fleharty

    Commercial Product Definition

    In addition to C-130Js, I think satellites might fit the definition. I know some defense contractors use the same satellite bus (and facilities and presumably workforce...though they only need one of the three under the (4) definition) for commercial satellites and DoD satellites - the only difference between the two satellites/“products” are the specifications.
  15. Matthew Fleharty

    Commercial Product Definition

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts @Retreadfed I’m going to save my pointed questions until others have had a chance to chime in to avoid leading anyone.
  16. Sounds good to me, though maybe we shouldn’t call it CICA if we’re starting from scratch - let’s call it “Contractor Selection” or something to that effect. Two additional topic areas could be: (1) Ethics & (2) Public Policy (after all this is the federal contracting process).
  17. I like the “from scratch” idea, if only because those who choose to discuss the topic can focus on principles, policies, and procedures of a new contracting process and the merits of such ideas rather than the “well X idea still conflicts with Y regulation/statute” conversations. As for where to start, the beginning of course: “Begin at the beginning," the King said, very gravely, "and go on till you come to the end: then stop.” - Lewis Carroll -
  18. Matthew Fleharty

    Evaluation Factors

    I'm reading Steven Kelman's (former OFPP Administrator) book "Unleashing Change" about his procurement reforms in the mid 1990s and this comment reminded me of some of his remarks in the second chapter (emphasis added):
  19. Matthew Fleharty

    Fee on Negotiated Changes

    Emphasis added - that's an assumption, not a fact of the OP's scenario.
  20. Matthew Fleharty

    Evaluation Factors

    Success! Now spread the goodness to your colleagues
  21. Matthew Fleharty

    Fee on Negotiated Changes

    On the Government side, I certainly would for a few reasons: Philosophically, I think Contracting Officers should be objective arbiters of the process. Sure they must safeguard the interests of the United States and be good stewards of the taxpayers' dollars, but I often say that I've never read anywhere in the FAR a directive to "save as much money as possible" (particularly at another party's expense). Instead, the FAR says a CO's responsibility is to award contracts at fair and reasonable prices (which with lingering false assumptions can one accurately determine that amount?) and to conduct business with integrity, fairness, and openness. I think addressing the false assumption is behavior consistent with both of those charges. Negotiation wise, by raising that issue (assuming it isn't the only lingering one since the scenario does say "you've been going back and forth") I think you'll likely gain a considerable amount of credibility with the other party that could help propel what might be an intractable negotiation towards closure. Lastly, if not acted on, unexpressed assumptions inevitably rear their ugly heads during contract performance and that could have two implications: (1) the differing expectations during contract performance could jeopardize successful and smooth performance & (2) if it's apparent or becomes apparent that you knew about it and said nothing, that's going to damage the relationship (the implications of which have already been discussed enough on this thread). On the Contractor side, I'd like to say I would as well - hopefully, I'd be able to sell the positive long term benefits to my boss so that I could keep my job
  22. Matthew Fleharty

    Evaluation Factors

    Vern made a comment on a different thread last week that I thought all contracting professionals should read and think about: "You don't get "guarantees" with contracts. You only get promises and there is no guarantee that you can enforce them, not even in court." One of the biggest problems with an acquisition system that takes to long is that it robs the Government of the ultimate incentive for good performance: future work. If we had an acquisition system that was fast, it would be easier for the Government to cut loose a poor performing contractor and move on to someone else - that would create a persistent incentive to perform well. Simplified acquisitions could have that, but everyone over-complicates them by executing FAR Part 15 Source Selections instead of using FAR 13.5 or (pertinent to this discussion) assuming that we need to evaluate technical proposals in order to make sure we get a competent contractor (which lengthens the acquisition planning and evaluation processes). It's unnecessary and it's created a vicious cycle that we can't break out of (because most of our training is OJT most people just do what was done last time and find reasons to explain why after the fact). Here's a challenge for you - try what Vern and I and others are advocating for just once and see what happens - I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. And check your PMs.
  23. Matthew Fleharty

    Evaluation Factors

    Well you're not convinced by Vern's framer example, so let's try this: There is an entire business segment dedicated to writing proposals for companies seeking Government contracts (Google "Government Contract Proposal Writing Services"). The information you're "evaluating" in the technical narratives may not even be from that company and yet you're relying on it to assess whether the contractor knows what they're doing... You should re-read FAR 9.104-1, there is a wealth of criteria there to consider when it comes to responsibility that a Contracting Officer can consider in order to avoid being bamboozled without needing a technical narrative: Keep SAP Simple.
  24. Matthew Fleharty

    Evaluation Factors

    The problem with that approach is that you likely end up in what Vern's coined an "essay contest" because that "3-5 page blurb" probably contains zero promises. Useful evaluation factors are those that either evaluate the promises of an offeror or their capabilities. A "3-5 page blurb" of what an offeror could do is not a promise and does not demonstrate their capabilities (it only demonstrates what they think they are capable of...but most likely it merely parrots the SOW/PWS).
  25. Matthew Fleharty

    Fee on Negotiated Changes

    There is a difference between deliberately pursuing a win-lose approach as one's objective end state and ending up in a win-lose situation because of naivety. I suppose that is the distinction I was trying to get at. I don't think that on average people behave in an exploitative manner - there are people and markets that do, but I think they are the exception, not the rule.
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